by Martin Rossander
How to Keep a Human, as told by Amaruq
Kaimana Wolff, 2010, Motley Crew House
Bedtime stories for puppies by Grandpaw Amaruq (whose name means wolf in Inuktitut) necessitate a certain credulity in the reader, while simultaneously nudging to the surface folk memories at the mere literal description of a good wolf howl. People of European ancestry may yet harbour an indelible hang-over of the mystical powers attributed to the terrifying werewolves of history. The eerie wolfish way of announcing the pack’s presence alone will surely cause goosepimples and hair to rise on the back of one’s neck! Countervailing that is our everpresent curiosity and inclination to probe, excitedly, both wildlife and wilderness—anything not of human making.Are the brain cells and nervous systems of humans and other animals more similar than different? Do both wolves and humans entertain flows of thought, daydreams, nightmares? Wolff must think so, for Amaruq rides shotgun through the book, as central, first-person character, the one who gives form and substance to the narrative of the story of how he convinces a human to move to the True Woods, and of their adventures on the way. Amaruq’s greatest achievement is the domestication of a human ape, who proves to be a most benevolent and accommodating servant—butler, chauffeur, and all-around provider. Food, shelter, medical care, travel, companionship and meeting the rich and famous—all benefits flow to Amaruq, but for a price. Amaruq must forego hunting instincts and the chasing of cats, whatever their color; he must avoid dog fights and yet defend and protect that human at the other end of the beautifully braided royal purple leash.
by Martin Rossander
Our ship of state did spring a leak, although festooned with bells and whistles. Who could have dreamed of such a glitch to well laid plans by free-trade tycoons? Were affairs not assured, in full-blown knowledge that market value knows what’s best? For all? CRASH! The Titanic—no less.So came today’s “Meltdown”, reminiscent of the 1929 stock-market crash. Had you been there, as I was, you’d still remember the lean years that followed: a full decade of hunger amidst plenty, the destruction of produce to bring back prices, the situation finally rescued in great smears of global violence and waste known as World War II. Nevertheless we were repeatedly assured, “Prosperity is just around the corner. Have faith!”
Naughty! Must not point the finger! When one finger points at another, three fingers point back. Why blame elected officials for a situation engendered by grassroots apathy? Politics has neither imagination nor elbow room to cope with anything beyond routine and taxes.
Hear now this clarion call to jumpstart a new initiative: Beyond Survival, last known as a one-hour weekly talk show broadcast by JUMP radio in Powell River, feels obliged to switch to the printed word and invites the community to join in creating think tank #2.. Artists, writers, thinkers, children, housewives, mothers, recyclers, bankers, and bill collectors, give us your thoughts! To all salespersons engaged in furthering consumerism, in an idle moment, jot down your impressions, your “druthers” in a positive vein for inclusion in a soon to be published book—to be published entirely in Powell River! (PR has a new cottage industry—community publishing!)